I wanted to continue the conversation of comparison, as it is a foundational concept. I recently received an anonymous e-mail from one of my first critics—which was tough for my ego, but, it helped me more deeply understand the pain and frustration that my fellow travelers are experiencing. She did not like that I suggested that you must “accept your flaws and love them.” Especially “extra weight.” She gently hinted that I was a hypocrite because in my own life, I do things like skiing, dancing and paddle boarding, which she believes I couldn’t do if I weighed more. I know—my advice is radical. It is different than all the other advice about body love. But there’s a reason that diets and exercise plans fail: because they begin from a foundation of “I’m not good enough.” They start with the idea that “my life will begin when _____________.” Your unconscious mind will sabotage any efforts to lose weight if it is not rooted in unconditional love.
Ultimately, self-acceptance, radical acceptance, is a supernatural miracle. It is the foundation of all faiths—it is the foundation of salvation—redemption. Self acceptance is the bedrock of transformation.
Here is what will happen if you begin to love yourself unconditionally: your body might change. You might stop eating your feelings. You might stop running constantly. You might move more in a way that your body craves. You might dance more; you might laugh more; you might walk more leisurely. You might eat more cookies; you might eat less. The point is you won’t be living your one “wild and precious life” (thank you, Mary Oliver) according to someone else’s plan.
Comparison says, “you need to do _____, ______, and ______, in order to look like that girl.” But here is the tragic truth (according to ego) or the truth of liberation (according to soul): you will never look like that girl, no matter what manner of insanity you engage in to obtain that goal. Our purpose in life is to express the unique beauty of your soul. Comparison is pernicious: it seeks to squash the special quality of your unique Light. When your Light goes out, a dreary deadness pervades your existence.
The great theologian Paul Tillich reminds us that:
It [grace] strikes us when, year after year, the longed for perfection of life does not appear, when the old compulsions reign within us as they have for decades, when despair destroys all joy and courage. Sometimes, at that moment, a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a Voice were saying: “you are accepted. You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know. Do not ask for the name now; perhaps you will find it later. Do not try to do anything now; perhaps later you will do much. Do not seek for anything; do not perform anything; do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact that you are accepted. If that happens to us, we experience grace (Tillich, Paul. The Shaking of the Foundations, 1948, p. 162).
And so I say, grace to you.